The Bears' Den
Frankie Price and Josh Howard had been friends literally since birth. Born four months apart to parents who had been close friends since college, the boys’ friendship bonds grew strong over the years. As they matured during high school, those bonds of friendship took on a different, much stronger meaning for the boys – a meaning that would not sit well with their fundamentalist “Christian” families. When their parents’ efforts to “change” the boys fail, Frankie and Josh suddenly find themselves all alone against the world at sixteen. Will their love for on another be enough to carry them through the challenges they are about to face?
We first met Frankie and Josh in the third book of K G Follett’s trilogy, A Different Kind of Family: Love Matters. This is the story of how they came to that fateful meeting with The Bears’ Den Family and how their lives played out afterwards. While this is a free-standing story, you may want to check out the three books of A Different Kind of Family: The Trilogy, to see how “The Bears’ Den Bed & Breakfast” came to be.
This book is a tribute to to very dear friends of the author who were lost to HIV/AIDS. Theirs, too, was a beautiful love story that was, unfortunately, cut way too short. While not a retelling of their actual story, this book is an attempt to give them the HEA ending they were not able to experience in real life. It's also a look into the plight of and a tribute to the many rejected and troubled LGBTQ+ youth in today's society. Hopefully it will help shed some light on what can be done to help them.
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Varies During Story
Protagonist 2 Age: Varies During Story
Tropes: Coming of Age, Coming Out / Closeted, Death of Parent, Families/Raising Kids, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, Find Love and Come Out, First Time, Forbidden Love, Friends to Lovers, Geek and Jock, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Rescue
Word Count: 34460
Setting: Rockford, Illinois
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Frankie Price and Josh Howard had known each other since they were infants. Their parents were best friends from college. After college, Frank Price, Sr., joined the US Navy and spent twenty years there before retiring and moving back to Rockford, where he was reunited with and married his high school sweetheart, Ann Taylor. A year later they became the proud parents of their only child, Frank, Jr. or “Frankie”.
In the meantime, Jack and Sharon Howard started careers and a family of their own with three daughters by the time Frank Price returned to Rockford. About six months after his return, Ann Price announced she was expecting. A few months later, Sharon Howard found out she was as well. Four months after Frankie Price arrived on the scene, Joshua Howard came into the world.READ MORE
The Howards had been heavily involved in one of the more conservative Baptist churches in the Rockford area, and invited the Prices to join them there. As a result of this, both boys were raised in an atmosphere that was less than tolerant of any viewpoints or lifestyles that did not strictly conform to the doctrine of that church. While this was not much of an issue for the boys during their pre-adolescent years, things would start to change as they entered puberty.
Although he was the bolder and more outgoing of the two boys (a fact that was accentuated by his easy, dimpled smile, dark brown eyes , expressive brow, and wavy dark hair), Frankie also felt the most pressure to conform as he matured. Despite his slight, five-foot-five-inch frame, he felt he needed to please his father’s ex-military machismo, which he did by joining the baseball team in school (the only sport he really liked), and by starting to date girls as early as Junior High.
Josh, on the other hand, was more quiet and shy, and tended to stick to his studies. He was also slender, but a few inches taller than Frankie, with curly brown hair and bright blue eyes set in a handsome face that gave him an innocent, yet inquisitive look. The school activities he did participate in tended to be more nerdish or intellectual, like the Chess Club and Yearbook Staff. He rarely dated, and when he did, it was usually to go out with Frankie on double-dates.
As they progressed through high school, their friendship deepened as they developed an unspoken understanding of each other’s feelings and emotions. While this was usually comforting for Frankie and Josh, it sometimes made their interactions with others a bit awkward. Eventually it would change their lives completely in ways they could never imagine.COLLAPSE